IMPORTANCE OF LABORATORY WORK IN TEACHING BIOLOGY
1.1 Introduction to the study
The importance of biology to any nation’s economic and social development cannot be under-emphasized.
Nowadays, the USA, RUSSIA, and many other nations are regarded as the world’s most developed nations simply due to their understanding of sciences, and biology is just one. To achieve this, the Federal Ministries of Education under the National federal Ministries of Education (FRN 2004) emphasized that; studying science can provide information and understanding of the physical world, the structures and conduct of living things, and encourage inquiring knowledge, understanding and democracy. Moreover, all of that is the significance of the sciences, and biology is just one. Consequently, many biology developments are emerging in the study of biology. Thus, acquiring new knowledge, attitudes, and standards for efficient biology teaching in secondary schools cannot be under-emphasized. It is better to develop skills in practical tasks related to biology.
Okeke (2009) noticed that the most important goal for developing nations to achieve a rapid rate of economic growth and improve levels of living for the next generation and improve the quality of life is;
our desire to improve or increase the quality of education in secondary schools and encourage students to give them praise for the advancement of the sciences.
The ever-growing demand for research from our biological industries, such as pharmaceutical, and agricultural biotechnology industries, will only be fulfilled by educating competent teachers to increase education in secondary schools and encourage students to become specialists in their subjects.
Most students are involved in a few science-related subjects, such as biology. They believe that the other sciences are not easy to manage. This kind of thinking should be resisted since science and math go together when dealing with any new scientific invention.
A variety of research studies have been conducted about the importance of laboratory activities in the classroom of science education. Today, science teachers and teachers agree that lab work is essential for understanding science (Cardak and colleagues, 2007, Ottander and Grelsson, 2006; Tan, 2008). Laboratory work’s importance in science education cannot be understated. The principal purpose of lab activities in science education is to equip students with theoretical and conceptual information to aid them in learning the scientific concept and, using scientific methods, help them understand the science behind it. Laboratory work also provides students with an opportunity to learn about science through scientific research methods. To gain an effective learning experience, the scientific theories and methods of application should be explored by students. In addition, the laboratory activities should foster the development of critical and analytical thinking skills and foster. Science-related interest (Ottander and Grelsson 2006). ).
There are questions about the effectiveness of lab activities in helping students comprehend the different aspects of research (Lazarowitz & Tamir, 1994; Schwarts et al., 2004). Teachers typically seek to build students’ higher-order thinking skills like critical thinking through lab work, but the extent to which they can attain this goal is debated (Bol and Strage 1996. Ottander and Grelsson, 2006). The assets are crucial to analyzing the goals associated with lab work because the objectives must be understood and understood by students and teachers alike to enable the practical activities in the lab to be successful.
Despite efforts to better define the goals and purpose of laboratory activities as part of science instruction, the research demonstrated that teachers view the laboratory as a concoction (Tan, 2008; Tobin, 1986). Teachers do not think of laboratory activities conceptually linked to the theoretical science curriculum. Additionally, they are not aware that laboratory activities can provide opportunities for students to develop new knowledge through scientific explorations. Based on the study by Kang and Wallace (2005), teachers think of laboratory work as an activity to verify. The researchers also found that teachers do not consider their lab as a space where knowledge claims are debated.
There are many reasons concerning the issues arising from practice (Tan, 2008). In Bencze and Hodson (1999), difficulties in laboratory work are caused when students do not follow the directions of instructors. Certain researchers, however, argue that the laboratory is no longer an environment for scientific research and experiments; it has turned into an area where the tasks assigned in the hands of teachers can be executed. There is no consideration given to the methodology or purpose of laboratory work. Only the task set is completed (Hart et al. 2000 Jimenez-Alertandre et al. 2000); Wilkinson and Ward (1997a and b) have linked the difficulties with the practical aspects due to a lack of understanding of the purpose of the work that is carried out in the laboratory.
The numerous uses of laboratory work have been the topic of debate across the globe for years. Many lists of these objectives are available for different educational levels. The majority of these lists concentrate on conducting experiments using technological and scientific methods. While some emphasize effectiveness goals, some have focused on other goals (John Stone, Al-Shuaili and Peid, 2001; Peid & Shah, 2007). If university biology laboratories examine the main goals of work in the laboratory could be:
– Strengthening or enhancing the theory of knowledge.
Experience the joy of exploration and the development of their psychomotor abilities.
– The teaching of how science can be utilized in daily life.
– Enhancing the capacity to think creatively.
– Developing communication skills,
– Building manual dexterity with equipment and tools.
– Allowing students to use their techniques instead of learning (Bayraktar and co., 2006.).
Many variables affect the achievement of these goals. These include the attitude of instructors and students to the laboratory, communication with students, and the laboratory manuals and approaches used in laboratory instruction. Numerous studies have demonstrated that teachers do not know that different activities in the lab have a purpose (Nott & Weilington, 1997; Wilkinson & Ward, 1997a). The teachers think that completing a traditional practical activity is one of the good aspects of the activity (Ergin and others, 2005). ).
Hirvon and Viiri (2002) are the authors who found that due to developing practical skills and utilizing scientific learning techniques, students show an increase in their motivation, and teachers can assess the skills that their pupils have. The theory-practical link between teachers and students was assessed at the top level. Additionally, the researcher pointed out that it is the character of science and scientific knowledge that requires a new learning method. Even though it presents an inaccurate perception of the nature of research in the lab, it provides a perception that science is the primary area of science.
Ottander and Grelsson (2006) examined the views of biology instructors on the importance that laboratory activity plays in their teaching. Based on the results of their research, teachers believe that laboratory work is an essential element of science and biology lessons. Teachers focus instead on the main purposes of laboratory work, including creating a connection between the two and improving motivation. Additionally, teachers are not aware of the goals of laboratory work to be focused on scientific process skills. Furthermore, how they interpret learning outcomes from experimental activities differs for teachers and students.
Therefore, the major role of laboratory works in science education is essential. There is, however, a lack of understanding of the objective of laboratory work, and the opinions and experiences of students do not match the purpose for which they are (Reid and Shah 2007). The ideas of biology teachers about the significance of laboratory work must be understood to enable the expected results to be derived through laboratory work and proper planning of lessons. Therefore, this research study will examine the effects of the practical experience on the academic performance of students studying biology in secondary schools.
1.2 A Statement of the problem
Students usually conceive biology as the easiest science subject due to its higher enrolment rate than other subjects.
This annual or sometimes decline in students’ academic performance is not too far from the methods and strategies employed in giving the course. This research will focus on the effects of the biology-related practicals on academic achievement in secondary school.
1.3 Scope for Study Study
The primary goal of this research is to explore Biology Students’ thoughts about the significance of laboratory activities in teaching Biology. The purpose of laboratory activities in science education aims to give students theoretical and conceptual understanding to aid them in understanding the scientific concept and, using scientific methods; they can comprehend the science behind it.
1.4 Research Questions
The research is designed to address these research issues:
- Does it show any significant difference between students taught with a practical method and those taught through lecture methods?
- Is there any major distinction between male students taught by the experiential method and male students taught via the lecture method?
- Does there exist any significant difference between females taught with methodological methods and males taught by methodological methods?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
This hypothesis is formulated within this investigation:
Ho1 The following is the result: There will not be any substantial difference between students taught by a method of practical instruction and those taught with a lecture method in their academic performance.
Ho2 The result will not be a substantial difference between male students taught by practice and male students taught with the lecture method concerning their academic performance.
Ho3 There is no major difference between women taught with a practical approach and those taught by males using a method of practical instruction on their educational performance.
1.6 Scope or Delimitation of the Study
The study’s scope will focus on the effect of practice on the Academic performance of biology students. The study was restricted to randomly selected schools within the Ojo Local Government Area.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
This study has been designed to cover the entire learning environment found in schools, homes, and society.
However, because of insufficient funds or time limits and the inability to access all school records, The study will be restricted to two (2) selected schools within the Ojo, the local Government Area.
1.8 Technical Terms
- Practical Work: It is the most important factor in stimulating and enthusing students’ interest in science. Additionally, it inspires curiosity, creativity, as well as critical thought.